With a brilliant final round of 66, Shane Lowry secured the biggest win of his professional career at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational. Here are four key talking points from the event.
1 – Shane Lowry has taken a big step by winning a World Golf Championship event. In an elite field the Irishman has proved to himself that he has what it takes to beat the very best players in the world. Lowry showed he has a taste for the big time with a top-10 finish at the US Open at Chambers Bay and this victory confirms his place in the upper echelons of the professional game. He has moved to 19th on the Official World Golf Ranking and fourth on the Race to Dubai. He will go into next week’s USPGA Championship as one of the favourites as the course at Whistling Straits should suit his eye, as well as his creative shot-making and short game.
2 – Jim Furyk once again failed to convert a 54-hole lead into a victory. The 45-year-old topped the board through three rounds, together with England’s Justin Rose but he played the front nine on Sunday in one-over-par and, despite getting back within one of Lowry with a birdie on the 11th, he then fell away again with two bogeys on the run for home. Furyk is one of the most consistent performers on the world stage but he has only won once on the PGA Tour since 2010 – this year’s RBC Heritage. He has led or co-led going into round four 10 times since the 2010 Tour Championship and hasn’t converted that into victory once.
3 – It was a story of positives and negatives for Justin Rose. The Englishman played superbly well from tee to green but was let down by his putter. He’ll need to work on that if he’s to contend next week at Whistling Straits. He three-putted the par-5 2nd for a par and three putted from close range on the 10th.
Justin Rose swing sequence:
“The early three putt made me tentative with the putter. Even around the turn, I had a great chance at number ten for birdie and three putted,” he said after his round. “I did enough tee to green, but even the putter was under pressure on the tee to green play. So it just stems from that.”
4 – World Number 2 Jordan Spieth will carry some momentum into the year’s fourth Major after a fine closing round of 66 at Firestone CC. He moved up the board into a tie for 10th place. It was a fifth straight top-10 finish on the PGA Tour for Spieth, a run that includes two victories. Spieth can make history at Whistling Straits by joining Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan as the only men to have won three Majors in a calendar year. He can also take over from Rory McIlroy as World Number 1.
“We seem to have nice timing with where we’re trending upwards this year,” he said. “Whether that’s the plan we put in place or it’s dumb luck, one of the two, I’ll take it!”